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1.  Prenatal exposure to vinclozolin disrupts selective aspects of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal system of the rabbit 
Journal of neuroendocrinology  2010;22(6):518-526.
Developmental exposure to the agricultural fungicide vinclozolin can impair reproductive function in male rabbits and was previously found to decrease the number of immunoreactive-gonadotropin-releasing hormone (ir-GnRH) neurons in the region of the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT) and rostral preoptic area (rPOA) by postnatal week (PNW) 6. To further examine the disruption of GnRH neurons by fetal vinclozolin exposure, in the current study, pregnant rabbits were dosed orally with vinclozolin, flutamide, or carrot paste vehicle for the last two weeks of gestation. Offspring were euthanized at birth (males and females), PNW6 (females), PNW26 (adult males), or PNW30 (adult females) of age. At birth and in adults, brains were sectioned and processed for immunoreactive GnRH. The numbers of immunoreactive GnRH neuronal perikarya were significantly decreased in vinclozolin-treated rabbits at birth and in adult littermates. By contrast, there was an increase in GnRH immunoreactivity in the terminals in the region of the median eminence. Analysis of PNW6 female brains by radioimmunoassay (RIA) revealed a two-fold increase in GnRH peptide content in the mediobasal hypothalamus in vinclozolin-treated rabbits. This finding was complemented by immunofluorescence analyses that showed a 2.8-fold increase in GnRH immunoreactivity in the median eminence of vinclozolin compared to vehicle-treated females at PNW30. However, there was no difference between treatment groups in the measures of reproduction that were evaluated: ejaculation latency, conception rates or litter size. These results indicate that subacute, prenatal vinclozolin treatment is sufficient to create perdurable alterations in the GnRH neuronal network that forms an important input into the reproductive axis. Finally, the effect of vinclozolin on the GnRH neuronal network was not comparable to that of flutamide, suggesting that vinclozolin was not acting through anti-androgenic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2902197  PMID: 20236232
reproduction; gonadotropin-releasing hormone; hypothalamus; neuroendocrinology; toxicology
2.  Age- and Hormone-Regulation of N-Methyl-d-Aspartate Receptor Subunit NR2b in the Anteroventral Periventricular Nucleus of the Female Rat 
Journal of neuroendocrinology  2009;21(5):506-517.
Glutamate, acting through its N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptors in the hypothalamus, regulates reproductive neuroendocrine functions via direct and indirect actions upon gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurones. Previous studies indicate that the NMDA receptor subunit NR2b undergoes changes in protein and gene expression in the hypothalamus in general, and on GnRH neurones in particular, during reproductive ageing. In the present study, we examined whether the NR2b-expressing cell population, both alone and in association with the NR1 subunit (i.e. the latter subunit is necessary for a functional NMDA receptor), is altered as a function of age and/or steroid hormone treatment. Studies focused on the anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) nucleus of the hypothalamus, a region critically involved in the control of reproduction. Young (3-5 months), middle-aged (9-12 months), and aged (approximately 22 months) female rats were ovariectomised and, 1 month later, they were treated sequentially with oestradiol plus progesterone, oestradiol plus vehicle, or vehicle plus vehicle, then perfused. Quantitative stereologic analysis of NR2b-immunoreactive cell numbers in the AVPV showed an age-associated decrease in the density of NR2b-immunoreactive cells, but no effect of hormone treatment. In a second study, immunofluorescent double labelling of NR2b and NR1 was analysed by confocal microscopy of fraction volume, a semi-quantitative measure of fluorescence intensity. No effect of ageing was detected for immunofluorescent NR1 or NR2b alone, whereas the NR2b fraction volume increased in the oestradiol plus vehicle group. With ageing, the fraction volume of the NR2b/NR1-colocalised subunits increased. Together with the stereology results, this suggests that, although fewer cells express the NR2b subunit in the ageing AVPV, a greater percentage of these subunits are co-expressed with NR1. Our results suggest that the subunit composition of NMDA receptors in the AVPV undergo both age- and hormonal-regulation, which may be related to previous observations of changes in functional responses of reproductive neuroendocrine systems to NMDA receptor modulators with ageing.
PMCID: PMC2930127  PMID: 19302193
N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDA receptor); NR2b; reproductive ageing; oestrogen; gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH); glutamate

Results 1-2 (2)